If you only associate the blazer with your schooldays (or with buttoned-up work attire), think again. The traditionally preppy piece has been reimagined for spring and, trust us, you’ll want in. Thanks to the ’80s revival seen on the spring ’17 catwalks, along came power suits, oversized jackets, and slammin’ shoulder pads. These words may conjure a fear of permed hair and OTT colours, but fret not: the formal blazer has been revitalized and given a contemporary refresh.
Originally the uniform of old boys’ clubs – complete with naval-style gold embellishment and house crest – the garment’s stuffy connotations were ripped up in the early ‘60s by Mods sporting boating blazers as they pounded the streets of London. After bands like The Who, The Kinks, and The Beatles donned the trend, the ’80s rolled around, with women adopting the conservative style of corporate men. The era saw knee-length skirts, roll-neck sweaters and razor-sharp tailoring take the relationship between masculine and feminine dressing to a whole new level.
Come the ’90s, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Blur’s Graham Coxon brought the blazer to the Britpop scene (paired with battered Converses and a skinny tie), with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann layering over a band tee or a classic white shirt. Since then, we’ve seen Kate Moss bring a sexier edge to the rock’n’roll blazer, and it’s become a staple of French style when worn with rolled-up sleeves and mussed-up hair.
How did designers reimagine the jacket du jour on the runways for spring? Gucci gave it an eccentric and whimsical twist, with sharp lapel piping in bright colours, gold fabrics and floral embroidery, while Saint Laurent’s were given a super-sexy Grace Jones touch. DKNY served up extreme proportions – think tiny waists, wide shoulders and extra-long sleeves – and Off-White put a sporty spin on white blazers with mismatched hems, baseball caps, and racing stripes.
We saw traditional grays and checks at Topshop Unique and Chanel, alongside Prada’s hyper-feminine red and yellow fitted number. In contrast, Demna Gvasalia supersized the shape at Balenciaga, while Céline presented – as you’d expect – the most wearable and chic work wear jackets.
So, there’s ample proof from the catwalks that the traditional blazer can be spun every which way, so there really is a jacket shape, hue, and style to suit everyone.